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Eco Survey: Agri, Allied Sector, Manufacturing Contracted In FY19

The survey said that the GDP growth moderated to 6.8 per cent in 2018-19 from 7.2 per cent in 2017-18. However, India was still the fastest growing major economy.

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While the Economic Survey 2019 has predicted 7 per cent GDP growth in Financial Year 2019-20 on stable macroeconomic conditions, it has put the blame of slowdown in Gross Domestic Product rate on account of lower growth in ‘agriculture & allied’ trade and the contraction in growth in sectors like hotel, transport, storage, communication and services related to broadcasting, public administration and defence’ sectors.

The survey said that the GDP growth moderated to 6.8 per cent in 2018-19 from 7.2 per cent in 2017-18. However, India was still the fastest growing major economy, it added.

"There was contraction in ‘agriculture & allied’ sector in the last quarter of 2018-19, though growth was reasonable in the previous three quarters. Growth of industry sector also experienced tempering in successive quarters of 2018-19 mostly on account of growth deceleration in the manufacturing sector," the survey said. "This is also seen in Index of Industrial Production (IIP) of manufacturing sector, which grew at 0.3 per cent in Q4 of 2018-19, as compared to 7.5 per cent in the same quarter of previous year," it added.

The survey conceded that the manufacturing sector was affected by the slowdown in the auto sector as well, where the production growth for all categories, apart from commercial vehicles declined in 2018-19, as compared to 2017-18. "Sales growth decelerated in many segments of the automobile sector, including passenger vehicles, tractor sales, three and two wheeler sales. Stress in Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) sector also contributed to the slow down by adversely impacting consumption finance," it said.

The survey however argued that despite the moderation of manufacturing growth within 2018-19, overall growth in the year was higher than in 2017-18, due to a high growth of 12.1 per cent in first quarter of 2018-19. 

The survey argued that the decline in GDP growth during 2018-19 arose primarily from deceleration in private final consumption in the final two quarters. "This could have been due to low farm incomes in rural areas arising from low food prices and also due to the stress in NBFCs, which affected its lending. The Q4 of 2018-19 also saw growth of exports declining," it said.

The survey said although growth rate of real GDP was high during the last few years, the coterminous decline in the nominal GDP growth from 2010-11 onwards, points towards a secular decline in inflation. "The gap between nominal and real growth rate has reduced significantly. Thus, the GDP deflator, which is a weighted average of Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI), became smaller," it added.

This is reflected in a consistent decline in CPI inflation during the last few years. In 2013-14, CPI headline inflation was close to double digits, but gradually declined thereafter to be within the target of 4 (+/- 2) per cent. Headline CPI declined to 3.4 per cent in 2018-19 from 3.6 per cent in 2017-18.

Depreciating Rupee; Declining Import

The survey admitted that the growth in service exports and imports in US dollar terms declined to 5.5 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively in 2018-19, from 18.8 per cent and 22.6 per cent respectively in 2017-18.

Macro Numbers

 * Growth in fixed investment picked up from 8.3 per cent in 2016-17 to 9.3 per cent in 2017-18 and further to 10.0 per cent in 2018-19

 * India maintained its macroeconomic stability by containing inflation within 4 per cent and by maintaining a manageable current account deficit to GDP ratio

 * Fiscal deficit of Central Government stood at a 3.4 per cent of GDP in 2018-19. Current account deficit was 2.6 per cent in April-December 2018

 * Non-Performing Assets as percentage of Gross Advances reduced to 10.1 per cent at end December 2018 from 11.5 per cent at end March 2018

 * Outlook of Indian economy appears bright with prospects of pickup in growth in 2019-20 on back of pick up in private investment and robust consumption growth

It said the Rupee depreciated by 7.8 per cent visà-vis US dollar, 7.7 per cent against Yen, and 6.8 per cent against Euro and Pound Sterling in 2018-19. During 2018-19, Indian rupee traded with a depreciating trend against US dollar and touched `74.4 per US dollar in October 2018 before recovering to `69.2 per US dollar at end March 2019. Rupee depreciated in the first half of the year due to concerns related to widening of CAD owing to rising crude oil prices coupled with tighter financial conditions in US caused by increase in Federal Funds rate by the US Federal Reserve. However, rupee performed better than some of the other major emerging market currencies, such as, Argentine Peso, Turkish Lira, Brazilian Real, and Russian Ruble, which depreciated more than 10 per cent vis-à-vis US dollar.

On the external front, current account deficit (CAD) increased from 1.9 per cent of GDP in 2017-18 to 2.6 per cent in April-December 2018, the survey pointed. The widening of the CAD was largely on account of a higher trade deficit driven by rise in international crude oil prices (Indian basket). "The trade deficit increased from US$ 162.1 billion in 2017-18 to US$ 184 billion in 2018-19," it said.

Nominal growth of both merchandise exports and imports declined in US dollar terms in 2018-19, as compared to 2017-18. However, the decline was much sharper in merchandise imports, which reduced from 21.1 per cent to 10.4 per cent. Growth of merchandise imports declined as oil price driven increase in growth of oil imports was more than offset by contraction in value of gold imports and lower growth in the value of non-oil non-gold imports. The crude oil prices, however, showed movements in both the directions within the year. As the year commenced, crude prices increased and reached above 80 US$/bbl. in October 2018. Thereafter, it started to decline before increasing again after December 2018 (Figure 10). Overall the oil prices were substantially higher in 2018- 19, as compared to previous year.

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